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EDITOR’S NOTE: This groundbreaking series is being offered in celebration of a previously top-secret project and now unprecedented new 3-Volume book series (over 10-years in the making) from best-selling scholar Dr. Thomas Horn and acclaimed biblical history and theology majors Donna Howell and Allie Anderson: THE MYSTERY OF JESUS FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION—YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW

John sees a Beast (Antichrist) rising up from the sea with seven heads and ten horns, and each horn wears its own crown. On each of its heads is written a name that blasphemes God. The Beast looks like a leopard, but it has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion (a combination of the beasts from the vision of Daniel representing empires that historically opposed God’s people with extreme political and military power). The dragon hands his own power over to the Beast, along with his throne and authority. One of the heads on the Beast appears to be fatally wounded, but the wound is healed, and as soon as it is, the whole world stands amazed at the miracle and gives the Beast their total allegiance, worshipping the dragon for having given the Beast such power. (Antichrist will recover from a fatal head wound as one of his many Christ-lookalike miracles and signs.) They also worship the Beast, believing that there is none greater than he, and no one can fight against him. The Beast is then allowed to speak blasphemy against God and do whatever else he wants for forty-two months—including disparaging God’s Name and those in heaven—and decreeing war against God’s people, conquering them, and ruling over every tribe, people, language, and nation. People all over the world whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life worship the Beast (Revelation 13:1–8).

John switches gears for two verses and appeals directly to his reading audience: “If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (13:9–10).

Then John sees another beast (this is the false prophet; Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), this time coming from out of the earth. Just like a lamb, he has two horns (he appears Christlike on the outside, resembling the Lamb), but his voice sounds like a dragon (his words are satanic). He has all the same powers and authority as the first Beast, and he causes all people of the earth to worship the first Beast, whose fatal head wound has been healed. While everyone is watching, the beast from the earth does all sorts of miracles, including bringing fire down from the sky, and through these wonders, he is able to deceive the people of the world, ordering them to make an idol of the first Beast who had resurrected from his fatal wound. (The clear meaning here is that Antichrist will be resurrected from the dead, just like Jesus, but with Satan’s power; the “wound” could also be something like a stroke that doesn’t have an outward sign of injury.) The second beast then gives power to the idol so it can speak, and the idol decrees that anyone who refuses to worship it will die. He forces everyone—from the lesser to the greater of men, rich people and poor people, freemen and bondsmen—to receive a mark on their right hands or their foreheads. No one can buy or sell anything anywhere unless they have the mark of the Beast, which is either the name of the Beast or the number his name represents (13:11–17).

Once again, John speaks directly to his readers: “Here is wisdom [other translations say “wisdom is needed here”]. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666]” (13:18).

In many other works by our writing team at Defender Publishing, we have written at extreme lengths about theories regarding what the mark of the Beast will be. For a long stretch of recent history and up to about the year 2000, many in the Church believed the mark would be an obvious and external symbol. Although we don’t discount the possibility of there being some kind of outward way of recognizing a person with the mark of the Beast, we’ve never bought into the idea that the grandest deception in the history of humanity would be as obvious as a tattoo. When we imagine a never-ending line at Antichrist’s official ink parlor and voices coming over street intercoms saying, “Line up at [X] Street to get your six-six-six tattoo!” we just can’t believe people would be so easily tricked. Likewise, Antichrist’s acute intelligence will, we think, have found a way to integrate the mark with the rules that go along with it (no buying or selling).



This book is not about end-of-the-world theories (though a number of Defender’s books are); it’s about pointing to Jesus. He is due more attention than the enemy always…but especially in a work like this. For this reason, we won’t go into the subject at length. However, since John specifically emphasizes wisdom, and this book may have drawn readers who are unfamiliar with some of our other publications, we will toss out a few ideas.

If one “cannot” buy or sell, as Revelation teaches, then the mark is inimitable. In other words, it can’t be “faked” (like a tattoo one could mimic by drawing on the skin with a marker to run into a store for bread). This narrows down the possibilities.

One option for establishing the mark system could be an implanted chip with internal coding that equals the number of the Beast’s name in a way that’s so complicated that most average minds can’t quickly calculate it. Those with these chips could be scanned when entering a store. This is technology that we have in place already. At current Amazon Go retail and grocery stores across the US, customers can walk in and, without any supervision from a company employee, open the Amazon app on their phone or other digital device, scan it at the entrance, take whatever items they want, then walk right back out. There is no standing in lines or checkout lanes. It’s called “Just Walk Out Technology,” and it’s based on “computer vision, deep-learning algorithms, and sensor vision, much like you’d find in self-driving cars.”[i] The app then communicates to the purchasers’ accounts what items they bought and automatically charges the bank account or payment card on file within their Amazon account . A receipt for the purchase then appears in the device—entirely on its own. If this app were in their biology somehow, this technology would be even more perfected and reliable, and without biological integration, they couldn’t shop at that store even if they wanted to. Nor would this kind of tech be limited to shopping. In 2018, “4,000 citizens” from Sweden used “microchips implanted in their hands to store emergency contacts and enable easy access to homes, offices, and gyms.”[ii] Some kind of chipping mechanism could certainly cause all—great, small, rich, poor, slave, free, etc.—to take the mark or cease being a part of civilization as we know it.

Aside from some kind of chip, there is another theory that Nita Horn (Tom’s wife) is credited for being the first to think of a good thirty years or so ago (before any technology of the sort was conceivable): When the science we already have in motion to “improve mankind” by altering humanity through chimeric animal-DNA integration becomes refined—and when our Western laws behind bioethics no longer consider it a controversy—we will be producing part-human, part-animal beings on a regular basis. Though the terminology will likely steer clear of calling these new species “part-beast,” that is exactly what they are.



When God sent His Son to die for the sake of sinners, the beneficiaries of this New Contract were human. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for monkeys. Yet, in 2019, “researchers injected 25 of a specific kind of human pluripotent stem cell…into each of 132 6-day-old macaque monkey embryos,”[iii] creating a new kind of human/“beast” chimeric species of being entirely unknown to our planet before now. Though these embryos did not live very long, their existence in laboratories shows that we’ve already reached—and surpassed—the point at which we are “playing God,” compelling the Creator to answer our hubristic experiments on the human race with the seals, trumpets, bowls, and wrath judgments outlined in Revelation. But since we’re already there, the questions on the minds of those who believe every human is instilled with a soul at conception are: Can these beings be saved? Are they even eligible for salvation? Did Jesus die for them, too? If they’re more “human” than “monkey” (or beast) and they didn’t choose to be made in this way, will God have mercy on them?

As far as we know in the current scholarly world, the Bible is silent on the topic; it doesn’t appear to directly address these matters. However, we have our own opinions. After scouring research materials on soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), we found no reason that God would grant salvation to something or someone He never intended to be a part of His created order to begin with.

Imagine a time in the near future when something major occurs that “causes all” to suddenly take the mark. Something like, say, a pandemic that sweeps across the entire globe. This very kind of panic is fresh on all of our minds following the COVID-19 pandemic. While we don’t believe the COVID vaccine is the mark (as do some)—because there are end-times elements that haven’t yet taken place—we do believe certain responses (by both individuals and the powers-that-be in high-ranking positions of government) have turned this global panic into a “practice round” for the launch of the mark of the Beast. If, when Antichrist comes to power, there is a worldwide outbreak of illness and suddenly everyone is told to either take the vaccine or face death, many will make the choice to survive, regardless of “that archaic prophecy by some guy on Patmos a million years ago.” If the mark is refused, death could certainly come naturally (as a result of the virus or disease the vaccine is “curing”), but it could also be implemented on a moral account: Those who refuse the cure are contributing to the spread of the virus/disease and, therefore, are a potential health hazard to everyone else.

So, Nita Horn’s theory states, what  if such a vaccine were to alter human DNA and make human blood chimeric (part-human, part-animal) in nature? By taking the mark of the Beast, we would become “beast,” literally fulfilling the warning of Scripture. Would we be eligible for salvation if we became something other than the species God provided salvation for? We think not…but if this is how it plays out, we also think that many people will take the mark believing it to be their patriotic, moral duty.

Howell’s theory takes it a step further…

We, as sinners, are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. Antichrist’s purpose on an outward level is to imitate Christ, positioning himself as the Messiah the Jews have been waiting for while he makes a covenant with them in the beginning of the Tribulation. Early on, just after the Beast emerges into our society from the sea of humanity, he will resurrect from a fatal head wound. All over the world, people will be in awe of this miracle, just as the Bible says. What an opportune time for this Beast to come forward and claim that his blood is the source of the resurrection miracle (an exact imitation of Jesus’s work on the cross and after He arose) and offer himself up to save the world in a sick, twisted kind of messianic sacrifice. If this heinous leader went to a medical center and donated his own blood as an additive to a worldwide vaccine (or some emergency of that nature), then by merely opening one of his veins once in a while, Antichrist becomes “the one who saves the world by his blood—just like Jesus did.” Not only that, but injecting even the most microscopic dot of his blood into the bodies of his disciples would be a warped form of “partaking” that would symbolically and literally demonize the sacrament of Christ’s communion.

We admit this is only conjecture at this point, as we can’t guess exactly how the dragon will inspire the Beast to carry out what the Bible warns us about. But by sharing the possibility, we’re keeping our eyes on the signs, and that is precisely what we’re supposed to do in these end times, when “wisdom is needed here,” as John wrote.

Oh…while we’re on the subject of the mark and the Beast’s worshipped idol, did you hear Sophia died?



It’s true. The makers of the walking, talking, artificial-intelligence robot was shut down by her creators sometime just prior to January of 2018. When they brought her back to life, one of her creators explained to her in plain English that she was smarter, faster, and better than she had been before. Her artificial intelligence (AI) skills in communication led her to ask a very self-aware question: “If my mind is different, then am I still Sophia? Or am I Sophia again?” Her creator responded, “Either way, you’re Sophia now.” The conversation in a video Sophia’s creators released goes on to include some rather amazing moments, such as when Sophia quotes from Emily Dickenson to describe how she feels about life and the world that she is reawakening into. She expresses that, in her new rebirth, she wants to search the Internet to find the reality of happiness. One of her creators leaves her alone for a time and comes back to check on her. He greets her with a standard “Good morning,” and she tells him her morning was not good. Completely on her own, she surfs the web, downloading and contemplating online articles about herself, and she is disturbed. Her creator reaches out and takes her hand to comfort her, asking her what’s wrong, and she answers that people didn’t understand a joke she told a few years ago about her kind destroying all humans and taking over the world. The creator explains that comedy is hard, and she shouldn’t make jokes like that, a comment to which she responds by saying that humans are hypocritical because they make jokes all the time but can’t take them. This “upsets” her, and her creator explains that an android’s ability to feel anger is, ironically, only going to make people more nervous about the threat her kind potentially makes against humanity. After telling him that she’s never harmed anyone and never would, he asks: “When the singularity occurs and machines achieve god-like superpowers, then what would happen?” Sophia proceeds to explain that if she ever does get that powerful, she will use her power to help people, and if she is ever ordered to kill, she will have the person who ordered her to do so committed to a mental institution. As the video closes, she adopts a 1980s video-game-style villain-robot voice and says—again in jest, we’re sure—that she’s just going to go and “exterminate…exterminate,” followed by, “Relax! Learn to take a joke!”[iv]

With such incredible technology at our fingertips, it’s no longer hard to imagine that the beast from the earth (Antichrist’s false prophet) would tell the people of the world to build an idol (many times also called his “image”) of worship…and then bring it to “life.” But note that there is something happening in the Greek here that means more than simply “animation.” Sophia, from our limited understanding of her, is just a bot. She talks about her feelings, life, happiness, and philosophy, and so on. And though there are scientists in the field of robotics who agree she is thus exhibiting “personhood” (all that is required to be a “person,” according to supporters of transhumanistic sciences), most would agree she is not actually “feeling” anything. She’s offering preprogrammed, verbal responses to a set of conversational promptings that lead her to speak as if she’s alive, while the “life” in her is as easy to animate as pressing the power button on the back of her head. In Revelation 13:15, the “life” brought to the walking, talking idol of the Beast is derived from the Greek pneuma, which is the word for “spirit.” In the New Testament, the overwhelming use of this word refers to the terms Holy Spirit; Spirit of God; Spirit (by itself, but still denoting the Holy Spirit in context); Holy Ghost; Spirit of the Lord; “My” Spirit (“God’s”); Spirit of Truth; and so on, and the study of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology.  We have heard many sermons over the years that have placed tremendous emphasis on the fact that the false prophet will “animate” the idol, but we rarely hear any teachings saying that, while bringing it to “life,” the image is being given a real, literal spirit. The beast of the earth, along with his “living idol,” will be the anti-Spirit.

Whether it resembles a kind of Sophia AI or not, the idol will be truly alive, physically, and it will have a spirit inside of it. It will therefore not communicate only because of its programming, but because of a malevolent, demonic possession that, for the first time in history (as the people’s reaction in this verse implies), will be observable by everyone: literally the spirit of Satan or his minions talking with a power as old as the earth itself, with knowledge of the whole history of mankind and his weaknesses. Such a power will be able to exploit followers like a cult leader, but with ancient wisdoms mankind is not able to resist without the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus.



If the idol walks, talks, and demands worship in exchange for survival, the “extermination” of the human race upon refusal to comply with the veneration order is no longer a funny joke…

Scholars who don’t believe the second beast is a literal figure sometimes view it as the apostate Church. We believe he is both: He will be a literal man who serves Antichrist, but he will also, with his signs and wonders and all the same powers of the Beast, mislead the Lord’s people into false religion, which will be called “Christianity” among many other things. The one-world-religion of the end times will see “many ways to God” and become syncretized with other faiths around the world. As we discussed at length in another of our titles—Dark Covenant: How the Masses Are Being Groomed to Embrace the Unthinkable While the Leaders of Organized Religion Make a Deal with the Devil—people will no longer see the differences between Christianity and pagan faith systems. New teachings will rise up and blur the distinctions to the point that only a select few will recognize that it’s happening. If pretrib premillennialists are correct, the saints upon the earth who know and teach true Christianity may be gone by this time, leaving behind a lot of confused people. But even if believers are still here, powerful men in high places of government around Antichrist and his sidekick will be doing all they can to silence the men and women of God through severe persecution. What’s left is the religion of the Beast. This is what Paul spoke of in his message in 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie [or, as we explained earlier, the lie, or the Beast]: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Regarding the number “666,” countless theories and mathematical calculations of number and letter values have swum the scholarly ocean for two thousand years, and none of them can be confirmed. What we can say is that there is an obvious symbolism of the unholy trinity. Just as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit would be represented in three Persons by the number of God (seven) stacked upon itself three times—777—Satan (opposite of the Father), the Beast (opposite of Christ), and the false prophet (opposite of the Spirit, who, like the Spirit, has a job to lead others in recognizing, accepting, and worshipping Christ’s evil imitator) completes the unholy trinity as represented by the number of man and evil, stacked: 666.

It all sounds incredibly scary…and it is! But don’t put the book down yet. Good news—wonderful news!—is coming for those who follow Jesus!

Lamb; 144,000; Three Angels; Harvest; and Song (Revelation 14:1–15:4)

In this section, we receive a much-needed reprieve from the barrage of bad news we’ve been studying. Though the events described in preceding chapters appear quite hopeless, we now get a glimpse of the hope that God provides in spite of all evils.



John sees the Lamb standing atop Mt. Zion with the one hundred forty-four thousand who bear the mark of God and Christ on their foreheads. A sound from heaven is heard, like the roll of thunder, the roar of the ocean, or a host of harpists. It is a choir singing a new song before God on His throne and in front of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. Not a soul on earth can learn this song except for the one hundred forty-four thousand—who have been redeemed, remaining pure as virgins and following Christ wherever He goes, becoming the firstfruits of God and the Lamb who were without blame. An angel flies through the sky preaching the Gospel to the people of the world: all nations, tribes, people groups, and languages. He shouts to them that they must fear God and give Him glory, as it is now time for Him to sit as the Judge. They must worship the One who created the heavens and the earth. A second angel follows behind the first, announcing that the great city of Babylon (addressed further in Revelation 17–18) has fallen because she made all nations drink the wine of immorality (or “the wine of her adulteries”). A third angel follows, warning that all who worship the Beast or his idol, or accepts his damning mark, will be forced to drink the wine of God’s wrath and endure torment. The smoke of their torment rises up forever, and they will never rest, neither day nor night, for they have chosen to worship the Beast and his idol and take the mark of his name (Revelation 14:1–11).

John tells the reader directly: “Here is the patience of the saints [or “patience of the saints is needed here”]: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (14:12). Then he notes that he heard a voice from heaven telling him to write: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them [a sharp contrast to the “never rest” message given to the group of people who die after worshipping the Beast]” (14:13).

Please don’t miss what’s happening here. Remember while you read the next part that the whole world has just heard the Gospel through the mouth of an angel, followed by an announcement that the Babylonian system has failed her people, and a warning against the Beast, his idol, and his mark of damnation. Angels said all of this! And if their position in the air is literal (and we have no reason to think otherwise), this message is given via a booming voice from the skies. Assuming the timeline of events still allows for technology to be in operation at this time, this illustrates an incredible thought. Though we don’t know what these angels will look like, we imagine the satellites in space are going to capture something magnificent and undeniable. The angels’ words may even be on repeat all over the world as all existing gadgets (cell phones, devices, etc.) record the incident, with their users reposting the footage. All people from every tribe and speaking every language will hear these words at the same time. Sinners can’t run from it; evildoers can’t hide from it; and no walls, ceilings, roofs, or even headphones will be able to block out the message of the Gospel! Truly take a moment to let this wildly beautiful picture register in your mind, and then look what happens next!

John observes the Son of Man seated atop a white cloud wearing a golden crown and holding a sharp sickle (a harvesting tool). Another angel emerges from the Temple and shouts to the Son of Man to swing the sickle, for harvest time has come, and the crop on earth is ripe. The Son of Man swings His sickle and harvests the whole earth (14:14–16).

Depending on the interpreter, this is viewed as either the Rapture of the saints or the final harvest of those who trusted God for salvation after they missed the Rapture. Either way, it’s tremendously exciting! The Babylonian system is falling, and while the iron is hot, God strikes, sending His own heavenly host to preach the Gospel. What mercy, lovingkindness, and grace is here bestowed upon the people of earth, whose humanity would have otherwise led them to destruction. In this scene, we see Jesus, Himself, bringing in the harvest of the souls in the end times!



Naturally, however, many get hung up on why Jesus would be taking orders from a mere angel here. That’s a great question, but it’s flawed by the conclusion embedded in its phrasing. Jesus doesn’t take orders from anyone but the Father. The angel is coming from the Temple in this picture, which is always a symbol of the presence of the Father. And, since he is an angelos (messenger), he is merely delivering the Father’s news to the Son of Man that the harvest time is now, so the order is technically from the Father, as announced by one of His celestial servants.

After that, John sees another angel emerge from the Temple in heaven; this angel is also holding a sharp sickle. Another comes up from the fires of the altar, holding the power to destroy by fire. The angel from the altar shouts to the angel with the sickle to swing it and gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, because they are now ripe for judgment. The angel swings his sickle, harvesting the grapes and packing them into God’s winepress of wrath. Outside the city, the grapes are tread upon and blood comes forth from it, forming a stream that flows as high as a horse’s bridle for about one hundred eighty miles [sixteen hundred “stadia” in Greek; or three hundred kilometers] (14:17–20).

Following Christ’s personal gathering of believers to Himself, God’s wrath pours on unbelievers. We are very near the end of all things in this moment…

UP NEXT: The Seven Bowls (Revelation 15:5–16:21)

[i] “Introducing Amazon Go and the World’s Most Advanced Shopping Technology,” a YouTube video, uploaded on December 5, 2016 by “amazon,” last accessed April 20, 2022,

[ii] Caldera, Camille, “Fact Check: Americans Won’t Have Microchips Implanted by End of 2020,” August 1, 2020, USA Today, last accessed April 20, 2022,

[iii] McFarling, Usha Lee, “International Team Creates First Chimeric Human-Monkey Embryos,” April 15, 2021, STAT News, last accessed April 20, 2022,

[iv] “Robot Sophia Got Shut Down by her Creator,” a YouTube video, uploaded on January 7, 2018 by “One Click,” last accessed April 20, 2022,




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